This article was published on September 15, 2011

The top 10 sci-fi inventions we’d love to see for real

The top 10 sci-fi inventions we’d love to see for real
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

Fans of the Back to the Future trilogy may have noticed last week that Nike produced 1,500 pairs of the iconic glowing, self-lacing boots which appeared in the second of the three Back to the Future movies. 150 are being auctioned off on eBay each day, with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

In the movie, Fox had to wear a battery pack with wires running down his leg for the self-lacing mechanism to work, so this feature was actually omitted on the Nike replicas due to the impracticality of the design.

Indeed, there have been countless cool inventions and gadgets brought to the world’s consciousness via movies, TV shows and popular culture in general.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best inventions that have yet to see the light of day…and many of these probably never will.

1. The remote control: Click

Okay, Click isn’t the best film ever. In fact, it’s probably not even the second or third best film ever. But there’s no denying you’d do some pretty desperate things to get hold of a remote control that can freeze time and also fast-forward past any unpleasant moments. Heck, you can even rewind life, though you can’t change events. Among its other features are a slow-motion and volume control facility…just think what you could do with all of that.

Well, we’re not suggesting you do what Adam Sandler does in this clip here, but you get the gist. It would be a pretty awesome contraption to have:

2. The Point of View Gun: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get everyone to see life through your eyes and have them agree with everything you say? Okay, not ideal if you love a good argument, but if you like being right, then the Point of View Gun from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be sweet.

It can be used on anyone, and they will automatically see things from the perspective of the person that fires the gun.

3. Transporter: Star Trek

If you hate long-haul flights and airport queues, and feel guilty about your carbon footprint each time you set foot on a plane, the Transporter from Star Trek is probably what you’re looking for. But alas, don’t hold your breath…

4. Lotus Esprit: James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me

A car that works underwater as well as on land. And not any old car, a Lotus Esprit. We could probably dedicate a whole article to the many cool fictional inventions that James Bond has used, but this amphibious beauty from The Spy Who Loved Me has to be up there.

Wait a minute, this actually isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Back in 2008, Swiss company Rinspeed launched the world’s first ever automobile that can be driven both underwater and on land. The sQuba is a fully functioning prototype that is hoped will go to market one day, but there are some inherent flaws. It’s a convertible, so the occupants have to breathe air carried in the vehicle through a Scuba-style breathing apparatus. Plus, there’s the little problem of getting wet.

It’s still pretty cool though, check it out:

5. Sonic Screwdriver: Doctor Who

Doctor Who – not everyone’s idea of a fun evening in front of the TV, but there’s no denying it’s a pretty popular programme. It’s one of BBC Worldwide’s flagship brands, selling to over 50 countries across the world. But whether you’re one of its many fans or not is irrelevant when assessing the Sonic Screwdriver – a small, portable, multipurpose device that can open almost any lock and can be used to magically fix almost any piece of equipment. Heck, it’s also a pretty effective weapon too if you’re into that.

Chances of seeing this hit the market? Slim to nil. You’ll have to settle for your Swiss Army Knife, but check the Sonic Screwdriver out for yourself here:

6. KITT: Knight Rider

Classic. A car that talks to you, guides you through any number of tricky situations and can access pretty much any information you’re looking for. Everyone wanted KITT from Knight Rider, didn’t they?

In fact we’re probably not too far away from seeing something similar to KITT hit the roads. As we reported last year, Google has been testing self-driving cars, so throw into the mix a robotic voice and Google’s powerful search engine in the dashboard, then you basically have KITT. However, it’s unlikely to have that flashing, pulsing bar across the front of the car’s hood…and that’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it?

7. Johnny Cab: Total Recall

Johnnycab: Please state the street and number.
Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger): Drive! drive!
Johnnycab: I’m not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?
Quaid: Anywhere just go! Go!
Johnnycab: I’m not familiar with that address. Would you please repeat the destination?
Quaid: Shit! Shit!
Johnnycab: Would you please repeat the destination?
Quaid: [Quaid rips the Johnnycab out and drives the car himself]

The above encounter from Total Recall probably won’t sell you on the idea of a robotic, automated taxi, but if they can improve on this in real life, then the inventor could be onto a winner.

Think about it. No more surly drivers, and no more small-talk. Johnny Cabs are fantastic in principle, and when they work they’d be great. They just need to create drivers that don’t take questions so literally…

8. The invisible car: James Bond, Die Another Day

The invisible car from James Bond’s Die Another Day would be cool, and it would help you avoid parking tickets, but the actual real-life use case of such a machine would be rather limited. Will a real life invisible car ever be built? I’ll believe it when I see it…if I can see it…

9. The Neuralizer: Men in Black

Have you ever done or said something you really wish you hadn’t? Have you ever wanted to completely wipe the slate clean…at least in the eyes of others? The Neuralizer from the Men in Black movies would help you out there. A quick ‘zap’ and all is forgotten.

Oh, and if you ever happened to watch the awful sequel to Men in Black, you could perhaps even use the Neuralizer on yourself…just a thought:

10. The Hover Board: Back to the Future 2 & 3

We all knew where this list was going. Everybody loves the Hover Board from the last two Back to the Future movies.

At the time, rumors abounded that the machines were actually real and it was only a matter of time before kids the world over would be hovering their way to school on their own four wheels. But alas, it was all a hoax and as you can see from this test video here, there were strings attached:

That hasn’t stopped a number of have-a-go-heroes from trying to build their very own Hover Board though. It’s a little crude and far less cool than Marty McFly’s contraption, but this shows what’s possible with a little imagination:

What have we missed? Are there any fictional inventions you’d love to see for real? Leave a comment below.

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